The organization I lead, Southwest Michigan First, has experienced a great deal of growth over the past two years. We have almost doubled in staff size and have expanded from an economic development organization focused on a two-county region to a seven-county region, now covering all of Southwest Michigan.
Growth of this magnitude can strike immediate fear into business owners and managers, but when done intentionally, this amount of growth can cause your business to soar. I am fortunate to have a board of directors and group of investors that desired to see our organization grow to achieve greater impact. We sat down and planned strategically for this team expansion to accommodate the growth of our responsibilities. We outlined what areas of the organization needed additional talent and capacity and set out to fill these positions with top talent from the region.
Our team today is incredibly talented and committed to our mission of growing jobs in Southwest Michigan. It seems the more they do, the more exponential the growth we achieve. We have intentionally set no ceiling on the impact our organization can have. In fact, we aim to be a global leader in economic development, disseminating knowledge and best practices to others in the field. Some businesses are hesitant to chase that amount of growth, to share that amount of information and to engage in that level of transparency, but I am afraid not to.
Southwest Michigan First has been recognized as the best small business to work for in the nation, not as a result of policy, but as a result of hiring amazing and talented people who are doing great things every day. Many businesses believe growth in profitability or production justifies human capital growth, but in fact, if you strategically invest in great human capital, your business will grow exponentially with talent leading the way.
Don’t be afraid to unleash the talent in your organization in an intentional, planned way. Don’t be afraid to invest in the human capital you need to take your business to the next level.
For additional resources on the topic of talent, I recommend reading Strengths Finder by Tom Rath, Love Works by Joel Manby and The Spark by Lyn Heward.